There’s no denying Veganuary is all the rage – from the latest supermarket vegan ranges, to fast food firms launching vegan alternatives, the movement is having its moment in the spotlight.
Jude Dryden, 38, who lives in Carnoustie, converted to a vegan lifestyle and diet nine years ago, having been veggie since age seven.
Her husband Chris is also a vegan and the couple have raised their three children, Callum, seven, Winnie, five, and 15-month-old Findlay on a vegan diet.
She said: “Being vegan is 100% an ethical decision rather than anything to do with diet.
“A lot of people will say they are on a vegan diet but actually it is plant-based as they aren’t doing it for the ethical reasons and don’t live a vegan lifestyle as such.
“Being vegan is about not doing harm to animals.”
Raising kids on a vegan diet was relatively easy, she explained.
“For all of the processed junk food like fish fingers, burgers and sausages, there’s a vegan version now too, and while being vegan can be healthy, it can also be very unhealthy if you’re eating all the wrong things – just like any diet.
“I try not to use meat alternatives like veggie mince all the time. Callum’s favourite thing is eating pasta with pesto with some nutritional yeast on top which is full of B12 and nutrients.
“I also make chilli with various different beans which is a great source of protein but it doesn’t have the saturated fat and cholesterol like the meat version.”
While there is no vegan baby milk formula on the UK market yet, Jude says she picked the formula that caused the least harm to animals and the environment, and she breast fed, too.
She added: “I wasn’t able to breast feed my kids exclusively so I also bottle fed them.
“With Findlay this time around a friend also had just had a baby before me and she gave me heaps of milk.
“We also used a soya milk formula and while it isn’t vegan just yet, it causes the least harm to animals and the planet, and it allowed me to still feed my children when they were babies.
“Findlay was weighed 10lbs 10oz when he was born. You can buy vegan baby food nowadays and it is really easy to introduce different tastes and textures with what you are eating, providing it’s not high in salt or processed.
“A banana or avocado mushed always goes down a treat. It is very similar how people who are omnivores would introduce food into their kids’ diets.”
Dietitian and nutritionist Lesley Reid suggests people considering becoming vegan do research.
She said: “There can be this health halo effect with products that say they are vegan, but not everything that is vegan is good for you. For things that taste nice there will be lots of salt and sugar.
“It is worth doing your research and you should look into getting a vegan supplement along with vitamin D until you master a vegan diet as it can be a real transition and it’s important you get all the right nutrients until you understand it more.
“It is beneficial for lowering blood pressure, is potentially higher in potassium and lower in sodium and potentially higher in fibre. There are many benefits, but if you’re going full vegan there are vitamins you need to keep an eye on.”